Events 2015

Conference – Chorographies

November 6 & 7, 2015

The aim of the conference on 6 to 7 November 2015 is to investigate the various conceptualisations of the phenomena of the city, and take account of the key factors generating urban complexity. It will have three focal points:

Firstly, it will aim to determine the extent to which the contemporary city can be read as a diachronic palimpsest, i.e. as a whole made up of not only architectural but also spiritual and imaginary stratifications deposited over centuries or following historical and cultural events.

Secondly, the city is consistently a place of meetings and confrontation between the own and the other; it is a transcultural result of an increasingly intercultural reality which is represented in literature, influences architect’s plans or also needs to be linguistically negotiated.

Finally, the city is also an immobile space which is managed and mapped, as well as an intersection between countless movement patterns such as walking, strolling, travel, pilgrimage, immigration and so on. In short, the city is the sum of its types of use.

The lectures will be given in French, Italian or Spanish and should not last for more than 20 minutes.

The conference is taking place at Neumünster Abbey in Luxembourg City.

Organisation: Folke Gernert (Trier University – HKFZ), Nathalie Roelens (University of Luxembourg – MIS Key Area)

Scientific advisory committee: Alex Demeulenaere, Paul Strohmaier, Steffen Schneider (Trier University), Thomas Vercruysse, Ezio Puglia (University of Luxembourg)

MIS symposium 2015 – Multilingualism: Approaches and Research Perspectives

March 24 & 25, 2015

Following the Key Area workshop in November 2014, the MIS symposium ‘Multilingualism – Approaches and Research Perspectives. Society – Education – Literature’ took place on 24 and 25 March 2015. The invited speakers from Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland and Luxembourg discussed the approaches and findings of their research work in relation to social, political, cultural and educational aspects.



Panel 1: Multilingualism and Society

Julia de Bres (University of Luxembourg) opened the first panel and used the general question ‘What is sociolinguistics?’ to present the linguistic situation in Luxembourg, which has transformed from trilingualism into a far more complex system over recent decades. Helen Kelly-Holmes (University of Limerick) investigated the perception of various languages for their marketing effect. According to Kelly-Holmes, English remains a lingua franca but has lost its power of persuasion due to its role as a ‘language of everyone and no-one’. Wim Vandenbussche (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) explored the politically charged and historic linguistic conflict in Belgium, which has long been more than a merely linguistic issue as language is increasingly associated with cultural and social functions.

Download Audio Recordings Panel 1:

Julie de Bres

Helen Kelly-Holmes

Wim Vandenbussche

Panel 2: Multilingualism and Education

Adelheid Hu (University of Luxembourg) opened the second panel and discussed the extent to which multilingualism was embedded within the environment of interaction between identity development (education), collective identity development (politics) and global competitiveness (economy). Sílvia Melo-Pfeifer (University of Hamburg) added that teaching in German schools simulates a monolingual multilingualism and highlighted the dynamic structure of linguistic identity. Sofia Stratilaki-Klein (University of Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3) tied in with this by presenting three models for the construction of student identity, arising from her own research.

Download Audio Recordings Panel 2:

Adelheid Hu

Silvia Melo-Pfeifer

Sofia Stratilaki-Klein


Round table discussion: Multilingualism from a Multidisciplinary Perspective
L. Heuschling, A. Hu, C. Weth, B. Huemer, M. Reichert and N. Roelens (f. l. t. r.)

Participants in the round table discussion had the opportunity to exchange ideas with researchers from the University of Luxembourg who are addressing questions of multilingualism and its analysis. The discussion included Luc Heuschling (Centre for European Law), Birgit Huemer (Language Centre), Monique Reicher (Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing), Nathalie Roelens (Institute for Romance, Media and Art Studies) and Constanze Weth (Institute for Research on Multilingualism).




Panel 3: Multilingualism and Literature

The introduction to the third panel was provided by Till Dembeck (University of Luxembourg), who discussed the significance of interference between multilingualism and literature. He developed the theory that even monolingual texts are pervaded by various linguistic systems. Reine Meylaerts (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) tied in to this with a conceptual demonstration of the extent to which authors function as cultural mediators. Dirk Weissmann (University Paris Est Créteil) followed on from Dembeck by promoting the theory that multilingual literature exists not only at linguistic borders but also in monolingual texts. Building on this, he began a critical discussion of established periodisations and classifications in literary studies.

Download Audio Recordings Panel 3:

Till Dembeck

Reine Meylaerts

Dirk Weissmann

Discussion and final word by Dieter Heimböckel

Guests from Villa Vigoni – German-Italian centre for European excellence

November 6 & 7, 2015

On 26 February, the MIS Key Area welcomed Villa Vigoni’s Secretary General Prof. Immacolata Amodeo and researcher Dr. Michele Vangi. The guests presented the work of this German-Italian centre for European excellence in the presence of the Italian Ambassador and the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities.

Collaboration with the German-Italian centre

In his welcome, Key Area representative Dieter Heimböckel reaffirmed the desire for even closer cooperation: “In order to promote discussion of Europe and of its multilingual and intercultural aspects, we found ourselves wanting to invite a competent dialogue partner to Luxembourg in the shape of Villa Vigoni, thus establishing a broader base for continuing an existing collaboration”. Long-term collaboration between the Key Area and Villa Vigoni was launched during the meeting.

Meeting point
Dr. Michele Vangi

The Villa Vigoni association promotes German and Italian relations in science, education and culture from an international and European perspective. Representatives of the economy, politics and culture come together at Villa Vigoni on Lake Como to discuss important issues of the 21st century.




Exchange and networking

Integral parts of the centre’s annual program include trilateral research conferences to promote exchange and networking between humanities scholars and social scientists from Germany, France and Italy, where multilingualism is an underlying principle, and Villa Vigoni discussions covering the humanities and social sciences.